Category: Essay

WHAT IS THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE?

 Know then thyself, presume not God to scan
The proper study of Mankind is Man.   –Alexander Pope
 
 
Whether Man is central to the scheme of Universe is a question that different cultures have answered differently. For Christians, Man is created in the image of God and all other beings- fish, fowl, bird and beast- exist only for Man. For Hindus, Man is just one other being as is manifested by  Avatars took various forms - from fish to Lord Krishna with Narasimha [Man-Animal] in between.  Humanism, with its emphasis on Perfection through knowledge  regards Man at the very center of things. Now scientists are asking and answering the questions philosophers have been posing, adding more, albeit, very interesting confusion to the debate.
 

Brando Carter was perhaps, the first to propose “anthropic principle” in 1973 at a symposium held in Kraków, Poland as a part of celebrations on Copernicus’ 500th birthday. He proclaimed: “humanity does hold a special place in the universe after all”. In his Paper, “Large Number Coincidences and the Anthropic Principle in Cosmology”, he observed: “Although our situation is not necessarily central, it is inevitably privileged to some extent”

 
 
In Philosophy, the anthropic principle basically postulates that "If something must be true for us, as humans, to exist; then it is true simply because we exist."  Or, any valid theory of the universe must be consistent with our existence as carbon-based human beings at this particular time and place in the universe.
 

According to Wikipedia, “the proponents of the anthropic principle suggest that we live in a fine-tuned universe, i.e., a universe that appears to be “fine-tuned” to allow the existence of life as we know it.” It has been argued that the anthropic principle will explain the physical constants such as the number of dimensions in the universe, and other cosmological constants.

The values of one or two of nature’s fundamental constants, if slightly changed or get slightly different, then, we will have altogether a different world, or Universe. For example, if the strengths of forces that hold atoms together were slightly different, one possible consequence might be that the Earth’s oceans would freeze. Water — basic element to sustain life — is unique in its property to be lighter as a solid than as a liquid. Therefore, ice sheets float and form an insulating layer that stops the deeper waters from freezing. Had water lacked this property then the primordial oceans would never have stayed liquid long enough for life to evolve. And, logically, we would not be here to ponder over our fate and fortune or read or write this essay!

This is the essence of the anthropic principle. It starts from the fact of our existence and then argues that the precise properties of the universe that emerged from the big bang had to be those that made the emergence of humans inevitable. The unique and peculiar properties of water depend on a precise fine-tuning of the fundamental constants. Why are these constants just right? Because, if they weren’t we wouldn’t be here, that is, to favor our existence.

There are many other fine tunings. Take Carbon, which is also essential for life. It is made in stars by the fusion of three helium atoms. It is by an extraordinary “coincidence” in the resonant energies of helium, beryllium, and carbon that stars make a profusion of carbon. Change it by just 0.0001 per cent and there shall be no carbon. And NO MAN!

 Stephen Hawking suggests that our universe is not as ‘special’ as the anthropic principle proposes.  Hawking puts a 98% chance for a universe like ours to result from a Big Bang. Or, it is even possible for it to come out of nothing. His new theories are being debated but earlier, Hawking himself asked: “ Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?”

The anthropic principle discounts theoretical explanations for the precise values of the fundamental constants. They are what they are because we are. Its opponents debunk it because this principle disallows us from imagining other possible forms of life than our own. True, but imagine: If the weak force that binds atomic nuclei had been just a bit weaker, all hydrogen would have turned to helium without making any of the heavier elements. If the strong force had been a bit stronger, the universe would not even have had any atoms. A very fine balance of constants it is that make the Universe, Man and the “Anthropic Principle” tick. [750 words Approximately]

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ENLIGHTENMENT IS BEYOND MIND https://www.amazon.com/s?k=The+Prime+Minister+and+His+Robot+Wife&i=stripbooks-intl-ship&ref=nb_sb_noss Click Above Kindle &Paperback Editions at Amazon.com The Prime Minister and His Robot Wife

What is Enlightenment? Can it be attained or it just happens? Is it in the realm of being or becoming? Can it be achieved collectively or is it peculiar to an individual? Is an enlightened being different from ordinary beings? Can, or to what extent, accomplishments of the mind be construed as a form of enlightenment? Or, is Enlightenment really beyond mind? These are questions of perennial philosophy and have never been answered definitively. Perhaps, on the mundane level, Enlightenment is seeking rather than finding, far less it is keeping and possessing.

We live in a scientific age but science and scientists have not enlightened us much on Enlightenment. Though, as Science advances, the distinction between matter and mind is becoming blurred and indistinct. And, enlightenment is increasingly being understood in terms of consciousness rather than in terms of individual or collective achievements of the mind. We of speak of “enlightened society” or “enlightened persons” but these phrases have very limited meaning and contexts. Enlightenment is coextensive with Consciousness which, like the Universe is ever expanding. True enlightenment is a kind of self- realization, a spiritual fulfillment, beyond the dimension of space and time. And, the poets and saints have dared reach for a glimpse of that which lies beyond Time. T.S.Eliot, for instance, in his Four Quartets tells us:

Time past and time present

Allow but a little consciousness.

To be conscious is not to be in time

But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden

…. ..involved with past and future

Only through time time is conquered.

Is enlightenment, then, total consciousness? How can such a state of being be sustained? Words, after all, are spoken and written in time and space and, hence , are incapable of capturing and expressing the moment [or is it eternity?] of total or universal consciousness or moment of self realization where time and the timeless interpenetrate and leave the realizing self configured into another pattern so that the Enlightened One experiences the Now and Here at the same time as it experiences Never and Nowhere:

Words move, music moves Only in time; but that which is only living Can only die. Words, after speech, reach Into the silence.

[T.S. Eliot ]

That is why the yogis, or the enlightened ones do not speak about their enlightenment. That which is beyond space and time, cannot be put into words. Language is a creation of the Mind and Enlightenment remains beyond the Mind’s grasp.

We cannot, however, totally disregard the concept and view of Enlightenment that provided impetus to “ an intellectual movement and cultural atmosphere which developed in western Europe during the seventeenth and reached its height in the eighteenth century”. The name given to this movement was Enlightenment and its common element was a belief in the efficacy of Reason. Reason, according to Godwin, Descartes, Voltaire, Diderot, Leibniz, Immanuel Kant, would lead man to Enlightenment , that is, “The Light of Reason”. Kant , in his famous essay “What is Enlightenment” published in 1784 defined it as “ the liberation of mankind from his self-caused state of minority.” In other words, Mind when fully developed makes Reason prevail or Universal Reason synonymous with “ fully developed Mind”.

Allied to this “Light of Reason” or Eighteenth Century European Enlightenment is Deism that eschews all “ revealed religions”, including Christianity. Deists’ rely on “universal human reason” for creating universal truths and values and for liberating the whole mankind from false and narrow beliefs. In other words, “ there is a deity, discoverable by reasoning from the creation to the creator, who sanctions all moral values and deserves our worship”. Alexander Pope, renouncing Catholicism, expressed the basic deistic tenet in “The Universal Prayer”

Father of all in every age, In every clime adorned By saint, by savage, and by sage, Jehovah, Jove or Lord.

In Modern Western Tradition Knowledge is equated , if not identified with Consciousness till the Existentialists like Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Kierkegaard,Heidegger, Husserl, Merlau-Ponty, Karl Jaspers toward mid-twentieth century became concerned with the questions of positing the individual as a “conscious being” in the phenomenal world. Absurdity rather than meaning they encountered in Existence that “precedes” Essence. Therefore, one must make “ conscious choices” in order to authenticate one’s individual existence which can at the most be a series or concatenation of conscious choices in moments of crisis. Kierkegaard questioned Reason and Reasoning and reversed Descarte’s proposition:

“ I think, therefore, I am” to “I am, therefore, I think”.

Existentialist Enlightenment, then, is an enlarging and heightening of disillusionment with established norms and bourgeois existence of routine life where Nine to Five pattern of life has a boring ,deadening and killing effect on an individual being’s consciousness. Existentialist living demands individual and collective or historical consciousness and choices made often against one’s own grain, a kind of continued renewal of “ being” in “acts of becoming” and “intense living”. Existentialists emphasize Experience rather than Knowledge for conscious and enlightened living which is a form of “disillusionment” forcing an individual to invent his own meaning in an absurd meaningless universe.

In both secular and religious western traditions, however, Knowledge and Reason, resulting from the development of the mind receive emphasis. Objective reality, its penetration through active mind is the way to enlightenment and even perfection in history. Christian Humanism and Scientific Method both rely on Knowledge: Science in the acts of discovery and invention, Christian Humanism in the form of good moral conduct and belief in the anthropocentricity or centrality of the Human Being in the Chain of Being. Man is the Center of the Universe and all things and beings, fish or fowl, birds or animal exist for Man’s enjoyment. But man, endowed as he is with a moral faculty, will prevail over his baser self, finally do good and not merely avoid evil. All humanists, Christian or secular believe that Man shall triumph and the Nobel Prize Winner, novelist William Faulkner articulated their belief when he said : “Man Shall Prevail”. Development of the Mind, in other words, is the way to Enlightenment for all mankind.

In the twentieth century new strands of thought made possible by mingling of races, civilizations and traditions , have changed our view of Enlightenment. As early as 1725, Vico challenged the view about the “primitive man” which , according to him, was far from being “savage”; it had the characteristic of the “poetic wisdom”[sapienza poetica] and is not less but more enlightened than the so-called “rational” or “civilized” man. Only, the ‘primitive mind” comprehends reality by symbols, metaphors, myths instead of describing it in reasoned prose. Not the secrets of Physics but the mysteries of Metaphysics are the subjects of his exploration. Perception, conscious discourse, epiphany or “sudden spiritual manifestation” currently have become part of the academic and humanist endeavors as tools of enlightenment. Yet, linguists and anthropologists such as Franz Boaz, Edward Sapir, Levi-Strauss have made us aware that “human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society”. Since Language has been created by Human Mind, one is a prisoner of the language , as the title of Fredric Jameson’s book “The Prison-House of Language” would suggest and, hence, of the Mind.

Along with these trends, we have the increased visibility of Godmen like Mahesh Yogi to Rajnish developing techniques of meditation, modes of living and establishing Retreats and Ashrams for their followers or seekers of “Instant Nirvana” for the rich of the world and “unhappy hordes” everywhere. But serious thinkers like Aldous Huxley, T.S. Eliot, Hermann Hesse have explored the traditions of the East, predominantly Zen and Indian traditions in which “darshan”, “revelation”, “self-surrender”, merging of smaller identity with universal self form part or various stages of Enlightenment. In the Indian Tradition, Knowledge is a form of Ignorance rather than a ladder to the Tower of Enlightenment. An Enlightened Being shuts himself from the World of Mind and Senses and transcends to a Reality where words are not valid, distinctions dissolve and moment becomes timeless as the drop becomes ocean when the rain falls over the vast seas. Earlier Chinese traditions of Tao and Confucius emphasized codes of moral conduct rather than realization of the self or universal consciousness for becoming an enlightened person.

In the Vedant and Upanishads, Hindu rishis explored regions of Consciousness and described three stages of human awareness as “Awakening”, “Dreaming”, and “Deep Sleep” , summed up in the “imperishable sound”- “AUM”. A totally aware, self-realized being is like a “being in deep , dreamless sleep”, with no distinction between “Being” and “Nothing”. But for most of us, only partial consciousness or “Awakening” or “Dreaming” is possible. A glimpse of all these stages of consciousness is possible through Meditation. But when the self returns to the work-a-day world, what happens to the enlightened experiencer ? About this there are many interesting anecdotes. One of them is about a Chinese wood cutter who suddenly became famous for being a ‘realized soul’. People swarmed his hut and waited for him to come out duly in awe of the ‘Enlightened One’. The wood cutter came out with his axe and a piece of rope as usual and looked somewhat surprised to see so many people at his door.

“Your Holiness, You have become a realized soul, you are The Enlightened One. So we have heard”.

“Maybe, but right now I am going to the forest for my daily work”, and he walked to the woods.

Sidharatha , after he had become the Buddha, the Enlightened One, laughed to his heart’s content when an elder from his own hometown asked him: “What knowledge did you gain after your tapas or long meditation and penance under the Bodhi Tree?”. Replied Gautum the Buddha: “ Nothing that I did not know when I left Kapilvastu”. [About 1650 words.]

=======THE END===

ENLIGHTENMENT IS BEYOND MIND

        ENLIGHTENMENT IS BEYOND MIND
          By Jitendra Kumar Sharma

[What is an Essay? It has been defined as a brief composition in prose that discusses a matter, expresses a point of view, or persuades us to accept a thesis on any subject whatever. The essay discusses the subject without specialist pretension and in a non-technical fashion, often with a liberal sprinkling of anecdote, striking illustration, and even humor to augment its appeal.
The Essay could be formal or informal. The formal essay is usually impersonal; the author writes as an authority, or a person of high knowledge and may expound on the subject systematically and with a degree of thoroughness. Essays appearing in Scientific American are examples of the formal essay.
In the informal essay, the tone is intimate and personal, style rambling and random, self-revelatory and relaxed. Examples of the Informal essay may be found in The New Yorker or Outlook.
[ Here is an essay by Dr. Jitendra Kumar Sharma that is partly formal and partly informal. For more essays by Jitendra Kumar Sharma, please visit his website http://www.agrawalmaharajamcluhan.com/

ENLIGHTENMENT IS BEYOND MIND

What is Enlightenment? Can it be attained or it just happens? Is it in the realm of being or becoming? Can it be achieved collectively or is it peculiar to an individual? Is an enlightened being different from ordinary beings? Can, or to what extent, accomplishments of the mind be construed as a form of enlightenment? Or, is Enlightenment really beyond mind? These are questions of perennial philosophy and have never been answered definitively. Perhaps, on the mundane level, Enlightenment is seeking rather than finding, far less it is keeping and possessing.
We live in a scientific age but science and scientists have not enlightened us much on Enlightenment. Though, as Science advances, the distinction between matter and mind is becoming blurred and indistinct. And, enlightenment is increasingly being understood in terms of consciousness rather than in terms of individual or collective achievements of the mind. We of speak of “enlightened society” or “enlightened persons” but these phrases have very limited meaning and contexts. Enlightenment is coextensive with Consciousness which, like the Universe is ever expanding. True enlightenment is a kind of self- realization, a spiritual fulfillment, beyond the dimension of space and time. And, the poets and saints have dared reach for a glimpse of that which lies beyond Time. T.S.Eliot, for instance, in his Four Quartets tells us:
Time past and time present
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden
…. ..involved with past and future
Only through time, time is conquered.
Is enlightenment, then, total consciousness? How can such a state of being be sustained? Words, after all, are spoken and written in time and space and, hence , are incapable of capturing and expressing the moment [or is it eternity?] of total or universal consciousness or moment of self realization where time and the timeless interpenetrate and leave the realizing self configured into another pattern so that the Enlightened One experiences the Now and Here at the same time as it experiences Never and Nowhere:
Words move, music moves
Only in time; but that which is only living
Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern
Can words or music reach
The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness.[T.S. Eliot ]

That is why the yogis or the enlightened ones do not speak about their enlightenment. That which is beyond space and time, cannot be put into words. Language is a creation of the Mind and Enlightenment remains beyond the Mind’s grasp.
We cannot, however, totally disregard the concept and view of Enlightenment that provided impetus to “ an intellectual movement and cultural atmosphere which developed in western Europe during the seventeenth and reached its height in the eighteenth century”. The name given to this movement was Enlightenment and its common element was a belief in the efficacy of Reason.
That Reason, according to Godwin, Descartes, Voltaire, Diderot, Leibniz, and Immanuel Kant would lead man to Enlightenment, that is, “The Light of Reason”.
Kant, in his famous essay “What is Enlightenment” published in 1784 defined it as “ the liberation of mankind from his self-caused state of minority.” In other words, Mind when fully developed makes Reason prevail or Universal Reason is synonymous with “ fully developed Mind”.
Allied to this “Light of Reason” or Eighteenth Century European Enlightenment is Deism that eschews all “revealed religions”, including Christianity. Deists’ rely on “universal human reason” for creating universal truths and values and for liberating the whole mankind from false and narrow beliefs. In other words, “ there is a deity, discoverable by reasoning from the creation to the creator, who sanctions all moral values and deserves our worship”. Alexander Pope, renouncing Catholicism, expressed the basic deistic tenet in “The Universal Prayer”
Father of all in every age, In every clime adorned By saint, by savage, and by sage, Jehovah, Jove or Lord.
The Universal Prayer
BY ALEXANDER POPE
Father of all! in every age,
In every clime adored,
By saint, by savage, and by sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!

Thou Great First Cause, least understood:
Who all my sense confined
To know but this—that thou art good,
And that myself am blind:

Yet gave me, in this dark estate,
To see the good from ill;
And binding Nature fast in fate,
Left free the human will.

What conscience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do,
This, teach me more than Hell to shun,
That, more than Heaven pursue.

What blessings thy free bounty gives,
Let me not cast away;
For God is paid when man receives,
To enjoy is to obey.

Yet not to earth’s contracted span,
Thy goodness let me bound,
Or think thee Lord alone of man,
When thousand worlds are round:

Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume thy bolts to throw,
And deal damnation round the land,
On each I judge thy foe.

If I am right, thy grace impart,
Still in the right to stay;
If I am wrong, oh teach my heart
To find a better way.

Save me alike from foolish pride,
Or impious discontent,
At aught thy wisdom has denied,
Or aught thy goodness lent.

Teach me to feel another’s woe,
To hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.

Mean though I am, not wholly so
Since quickened by thy breath;
Oh lead me wheresoe’er I go,
Through this day’s life or death.

This day, be bread and peace my lot:
All else beneath the sun,
Thou know’st if best bestowed or not,
And let thy will be done.

To thee, whose temple is all space,
Whose altar, earth, sea, skies!
One chorus let all being raise!
All Nature’s incense rise!

In Modern Western Tradition, Knowledge is equated, if not identified with Consciousness till the Existentialists like Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Husserl, Merlau-Ponty, Karl Jaspers toward mid-twentieth century became concerned with the questions of positing the individual as a “conscious being” in the phenomenal world. Absurdity rather than meaning they encountered in Existence that “precedes” Essence. Therefore, one must make “ conscious choices” in order to authenticate one’s individual existence which can at the most be a series or concatenation of conscious choices in moments of crisis. Kierkegaard questioned Reason and Reasoning and reversed Descarte’s proposition:
“ I think, therefore, I am” to “I am, therefore, I think”.
Existentialist Enlightenment, then, is an enlarging and heightening of disillusionment with established norms and bourgeois existence of routine life where Nine to Five pattern of life has a boring, deadening and killing effect on an individual being’s consciousness. Existentialist living demands individual and collective or historical consciousness and choices made often against one’s own grain, a kind of continued renewal of “ being” in “acts of becoming” and “intense living”. Existentialists emphasize Experience rather than Knowledge for conscious and enlightened living which is a form of “disillusionment” forcing an individual to invent his own meaning in an absurd meaningless universe.
In both secular and religious western traditions, however, Knowledge and Reason, resulting from the development of the mind receive emphasis. Objective reality, its penetration through an active mind is the way to enlightenment and even perfection in history. Christian Humanism and Scientific Method both rely on Knowledge: Science in the acts of discovery and invention, Christian Humanism in the form of good moral conduct and belief in the anthropocentricity or centrality of the Human Being in the Chain of Being. Man is the Center of the Universe and all things and beings, fish or fowl, birds or animal exist for Man’s enjoyment. But man, endowed as he is with a moral faculty, will prevail over his baser self, and finally, do good and not merely avoid evil. All humanists, Christian or secular believe that Man shall triumph and the Nobel Prize Winner, novelist William Faulkner articulated their belief when he said: “Man Shall Prevail”. Development of the Mind, in other words, is the way to Enlightenment for all mankind.
In the twentieth century new strands of thought made possible by the mingling of races, civilizations, and traditions, have changed our view of Enlightenment. As early as 1725, Vico challenged the view about the “primitive man” which , according to him, was far from being “savage”; it had the characteristic of the “poetic wisdom”[sapienza poetica] and is not less but more enlightened than the so-called “rational” or “civilized” man. Only, the ‘primitive mind” comprehends reality by symbols, metaphors, myths instead of describing it in reasoned prose. Not the secrets of Physics but the mysteries of Metaphysics are the subjects of his exploration. Perception, conscious discourse, epiphany or “sudden spiritual manifestation” currently have become part of the academic and humanist endeavors as tools of enlightenment. Yet, linguists and anthropologists such as Franz Boaz, Edward Sapir, Levi-Strauss have made us aware that “human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society”. Since Language has been created by Human Mind, one is a prisoner of the language, as the title of Fredric Jameson’s book “The Prison-House of Language” would suggest and, hence, of the Mind.
Along with these trends, we have the increased visibility of Godmen like Mahesh Yogi to Rajnish developing techniques of meditation, modes of living and establishing Retreats and Ashrams for their followers or seekers of “Instant Nirvana” for the rich of the world and “unhappy hordes” everywhere. But serious thinkers like Aldous Huxley, T.S. Eliot, Hermann Hesse have explored the traditions of the East, predominantly Zen and Indian traditions in which “darshan”, “revelation”, “self-surrender”, merging of smaller identity with universal self, form part or various stages of Enlightenment. In the Indian Tradition, Knowledge is a form of Ignorance rather than a ladder to the Tower of Enlightenment. An Enlightened Being shuts himself from the World of Mind and Senses and transcends to a Reality where words are not valid, distinctions dissolve and the moment becomes timeless as the drop becomes ocean when the rain falls over the vast seas. Earlier Chinese traditions of Tao and Confucius emphasized codes of moral conduct rather than the realization of the self or universal consciousness for becoming an enlightened person.
In the Vedant and Upanishads, Hindu rishis explored regions of Consciousness and described three stages of human awareness as “Awakening”, “Dreaming”, and “Deep Sleep”, summed up in the “imperishable sound”- “AUM”. A totally aware, self-realized being is like a “being in deep, dreamless sleep”, with no distinction between “Being” and “Nothing”. But for most of us, only partial consciousness or “Awakening” or “Dreaming” is possible. A glimpse of all these stages of consciousness is possible through Meditation. But when the self returns to the work-a-day world, what happens to the enlightened experiencer? About this, there are many interesting anecdotes. One of them is about a Chinese woodcutter who suddenly became famous for being a ‘realized soul’. People swarmed his hut and waited for him to come out duly in awe of the ‘Enlightened One’. The woodcutter came out with his ax and a piece of rope as usual and looked somewhat surprised to see so many people at his door.
“Your Holiness, You have become a realized soul, you are The Enlightened One. So we have heard”.
“Maybe, but right now I am going to the forest for my daily work”, and he walked to the woods.
Sidharatha, after he had become the Buddha, the Enlightened One, laughed to his heart’s content when an elder from his own hometown asked him: “What knowledge did you gain after your tapas or long meditation and penance under the Bodhi Tree?”. Replied Gautum the Buddha: “ Nothing that I did not know when I left Kapilvastu”. [About 1650 words.]

=======THE END===

Tips For Board Exams By Jitendra Kumar Sharma

Tips For Board Exams

By Jitendra Kumar Sharma

So you have decided to appear in Board Exams. Now, how to pass them? Here are a few tips for board exams.

  1. To achieve an objective efficiently, one needs a technique.So does passing board exams.

  2. Haphazard study wastes time, most precious commodity for a candidate whose immediate goal is to pass board exams. Methodical study avoids unnecessary hard work and frayed nerves.
  3. Do not cram. Cramming can land you in sudden blank outs. Passing board exams is a test of your comprehension and writing speed; it is not a test for reproducing your ready made answer. Memory or power to recall should help you write answers to questions intelligently. Examiners have a way of detecting cramming and they dislike crammers. You must attempt each and every question; do not leave any answer unfinished. Cramming is time consuming also and a highly undependable tool.
  4. Intersperse Topics while studying. Studying one topic too long and too hard is not advisable. When you study different topics, you increase your power of relating different aspects of knowledge and that is true learning. It readies you to write your answers to questions asked in board exams, more confidently and in your own distinctive style. This leaves a good impression on the examiner.

  5. Explaining and relating. Explaining and connecting  what you read is a most effective  way of preparing for writing any exam, including the board exams. Question yourself on what you have read and connect ideas gained not only from your studies but also from other activities. You must know that all knowledge is one and academically it has been divided in different topics and subjects for easy and methodical learning within a given time. Relating ideas and phenomena that appear disparate only on the surface can make your study highly interesting, besides helping you come up with answers to board exam questions impressively in an original manner.
  6. Perceiving Concretely. The books one studies for exams contain abstract concepts and knowledge but concrete examples cling to memory more easily. Try to find and associate with abstract concepts concrete examples from your own experiences. Discuss with others your illustrations of abstract ideas to see if they really work as effective illustrations of abstract notions as intended. This practice will impart confidence and authenticity to your learning, a most precious lifetime acquisition that remains with you much beyond your having written and forgotten board exams.
  7. Visual, other aids. Verbal learning is basic; visual materials reinforce verbal learning and help one retain facts and information gathered from reading/writing. Besides reading text books and taking down notes, adding visuals to notes or observing images, pictures, diagrams to understand their connection with the text is yet another tool for equipping yourself for board exams.
  8.  Tuition/Review Centers or Self-review/Self Dependence? I never depended on tuition or paid reviewing by coaches or so-called review centers. In fact, the tips I have jotted down are for students who cannot afford paid Tutoring/ Coaching or by choice shun Coaching Centers. Board Exams ought cause No Extra Financial Burdens on students.

As student, teacher, examiner I am a believer in “God Helps Those Who Help Themselves”, whether in Board Exams or other Exams of Life!

Good luck.

=====The End of Tips for Board Exams=548 words======

 

Has the I.A.S. lived up to the expectations with which it was instituted 70 years back? By Jitendra Kumar Sharma

Has the I.A.S.  lived up to the expectations with which it was instituted 70 years back? By Jitendra Kumar Sharma

The Indian Administrative Service, popularly known by its abbreviated sobriquet, IAS, has completed its 70 years of existence in 2018. It is a successor to the so-called Iron-clad, Heaven-born Indian Civil Service of the British colonial era. The IAS was very differently conceived than the ICS and was expected to perform an altogether different role than the ICS. It was said about the ICS that there was neither Indian, nor civil nor an iota of service about it. The IAS was supposed to have everything Indian and was devised to be the Servant of the Indian People.

The IAS was to be imbued with the idea and culture of India. Today, it is an elite class, zealously guarding its patchy mould of its British predecessor and worn-out mask of the colonial ICS. It is the most privileged, self-perpetuating class or clan of self-serving, power-grabbing in-grown ruling group that dominates all other branches of government. It dominates the politicians and the people alike.       

The I.A.S. was to be the instrument of governance that would assist the political executive to create, build and develop Indian democracy as a peoples’ republic‘. The IAS was expected to help build and strengthen democratic institution such as gram sabhas, panchayats, zila parishads  that serve as the base for Vidhan Sabhas and the Lok Sabha. All these political institutions were to democratize   administration, development process, and governance of India as a country and finally, from these foundations, was to emerge  a vibrant, participatory democracy eventually to mature into a peoples’  republic. The IAS conceived as a permanent system of people’s servants that would lend unity and continuity to democratic India’s Administration and Development and serve the nation with a sense of Indian-ness in their style of functioning. The forefathers of the Indian constitution had high expectations from the IAS  and wanted it to play a leading role in building India as  a republic of self-governing, self-sufficient, agro-industrial, urbo-rural local communities, politico-economic institutions that would control and regulate the deployment of natural resources for the Indian nation for Indian people’s welfare and betterment.

India, because of its culture and diversity, is  very different from most countries of the world. The IAS,  contrary to nation’s expectations has taken an altogether  divergent course. As a permanent and continuous instrument of government it has, instead of  discovering and rediscovering  its culture and diversity, set up a superficial and fake model of western imitation for the succeeding generations of Independent India.  The aura of IAS dominates the educated people of India and for the rural masses,it has become a callous officialdom which is perpetuating inefficiency and corruption. India was not imagined by freedom fighters and leaders as a jungle of concrete urbanization. India was to be agro-based economy motivated not by individual, self-oriented westernized society but a comity of communities rooted and rising from its village culture of bhaichara or fraternity and its other timeless verities. Pattern of its economic growth too was foreseen as  need-based, environment friendly, nature- conserving and providing livelihood to its poor people on a priority basis rather than a statistics-driven inflationary economy creating an inequitable consumer society serving the greed of industrialists, traders and hoarders as is the case today. India’s development in our forefathers’ scheme had to be democratic and decentralized focused on the constant and continuous amelioration of the poorest of the poor of our society.

The IAS too was launched to realize the ‘Idea of India’, a governance framework that will act as a bulwark against any encroachments on the ‘Idea of India’. These conditions and protocol for the IAS were clearly laid out in the Constitution of India. The IAS was, therefore, granted constitutional protections, which is not the case in other democratic countries. The prestige and protection of the IAS was certainly not meant to create a special, privileged, class who would develop nexus with Big Business and Politicians to fleece the nation and its people of their basic rights as a ruthless ruling elite. The guarantees that the Indian constitution provided to the IAS were  meant to create a cadre of public servants who would ensure fair, fearless, just  administration  for managing the country’s affairs efficiently and devotedly. 

The IAS as a class,in cohorts with the subsequent political masters, abandoned the ‘Idea of India’, and forgot the purpose for which the IAS was created. The Constitution provided all the protection and privilege to the IAS but failed to give the same power and protection to the  panchayat raj institutions that was to be the foundation of Indian Democracy. Instead, there emerged a disorderly and disarrayed pattern of ‘mixed-economy’ run by a command-and-control system.

 As a result, India’s Administration remains stubbornly entrenched in the same colonial-hierarchical framework. Democratic-participatory process is obstructed rather than being promoted by the IAS. Consequently, misshapen urban-rural monstrous cities,villages and towns have appeared that are at the mercy of lawless lumpen hoards, hoodlums, criminals and looters. Politically, economically and administratively India is a scary place to live for a law-abiding citizen. 

The past President KR Narayanan, himself a member of the SC and also a privileged member of the IAS/IFS as late as  2005 said: “Decades into the free life of our nation, we find that justice — social, economic and political — remains an unrealized dream for millions of our fellow citizens. The benefits of our economic growth are yet to reach them.  Tragically, the growth in our economy has not been uniform. Many a social upheaval can be traced to the neglect of the lowest of society, whose discontent moves towards the path of violence”. 

The IAS, according to the The Constituent Assembly of India, had to be  “the best material available in the country transgressing political boundaries.” Today, the common perception, according to a 2010 survey, is the IAS is an outfit that is an administrative wreck “sub-serving lowest political interests” and outrageously drenched in corruption.

The IAS almost totally destroyed itself during the Emergency 1975-77.Instead of protecting the constitution and rising up against a lawless regime, the IAS prostrated itself before it  and defiled the Constitution; it assaulted and raped the Indian democracy. It drafted and implemented draconian rules and ordinances and enjoyed the benefits of autocracy and extra-constitutionalism instead of rescuing Indian democracy and defending the rights of its people. When shall the country recover from the cowardice IAS injected in the body-politic of India is a question that starkly stares in the face of India’s dilapidated democratic institutions.

Liberalization, globalization and privatization have further widened  the scope for the predatory bureaucratic-capitalist-politician nexus to sharpen and satiate its instincts for land-grabbing, money-guzzling , environment – plundering in the name of ‘development’. Basic duties of maintaining harmony, law and order; delivering timely justice; efficient and corruption-free services; protecting environment and natural resources, leading the way to decentralization of the development process for equitable and inclusive distribution of wealth of the nation nowhere figure in the self-serving pursuits of  power and privilege of the IAS. Far from fulfilling mandate of the Constitution, the IAS as a service has failed the nation and people of India. 

====================The End===================

What Do You Want to Do With Your Life? By Jitendra Kumar Sharma

What Do You Want to Do With Your Life?

By Jitendra Kumar Sharma

What Do You Want to Do With Your Life?

First of all be thankful. Thankful for what and thankful to whom?

Thankful to your own self that you are able to ask this question!

Not everyone born on this earth has the self-awareness to ask such questions.

And thankful to the unknown Greater Self from whom your little, aware self derives its life and force, curiosity and capacity to seek answers about life’s questions!

Before you answer this question, please realize that you are a unique being. Like all living beings and all non-living things, you are unique. In fact, even products uniformly produced by machines in factories are individually unique.

This means the life you are going to lead in Sansar or Time-world too shall be unique.

And the answer about your life will also have to be given uniquely by the unique you.

This does not mean the hints and guesses you receive from writings like the one you are reading now are useless.

We are not an island to ourselves and we exist in a world where the other is an ever present reality. You may hate the other, love the other, or be indifferent to the other.

The choice is yours, whether you make it yourself or someone else–parents, teachers, friends- make the choice for you.

In actual experience, the choice shall be your own and you alone shall face the consequence of your or others’ choice/s made for you.

Whether you seek someone else’s advice or answer the above question yourself, you alone shall feel and perceive and know what and how much  you were able to make of your life at any given point in your life.

That is why the first thing to learn is that not knowledge gathered from others or books or other sources will ever give you the right answer to the above and other questions about  life.

It is not knowledge but experience that imparts and enhances meaning to life.

The answer to the above question then is that the mystery of life is to be experienced, not to be explained.

Therefore, make your conscious choices and live your life fully and you will learn what you will make and have made of your life.

This is how I am currently living my life most joyfully amidst ups and downs of life.

–Jitendra Kumar Sharma

==The End==

 

Admission Essay: Candidates, seeking admission to leading world universities in the USA and other countries, are asked to write a short essay. Here is an example. –Professor Jitendra Kumar Sharma

 Admission Essay: Candidates, seeking admission to leading world universities in the USA and other countries, are asked to write a short essay.  Here is an example.

–Professor Jitendra Kumar Sharma

  1. Write a short essay on ‘There’s no God; no one directs our fate’.

A.2.”There is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate”.This is a quote from Stephen Hawking, a genius and physicist who died recently. Stephen Hawking was an atheist. He also raised and answered some important existential questions: Who created the universe? Is there alien intelligence inhabiting our universe? And, questions concerning space colonization and artificial intelligence.

Publishers John Murray  have brought out a  “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” by Stephen Hawking. This book contains some of this great  cosmologist’s most profound reflections gathered from his personal archive. Stephen Hawking’s God is  an impersonal God. He uses the word ‘God’ in the same sense as did Albert Einstein. For these two scientists God is their term for the laws of nature. Therefore, to know the laws of nature is to know the mind of God.

“My prediction is that we will know the mind of God by the end of this century,” says Hawking, who died in March 2018. And ,  somewhat enigmatically, he observes that “universe adds up to nothing, then you don’t need a God to create it”. What about faith? He answers: “We are each free to believe what we want, and it’s my view that the simplest explanation is that there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate.”This view is akin to the views of Existentialists like Jean Paul Satre and Albert Camus. Stephen elaborates his thought further: “This leads me to a profound realization – there is probably no heaven and afterlife either. I think belief in an afterlife is just wishful thinking. There is no reliable evidence for it, and it flies in the face of everything we know in science.”

Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time”,  sold over 13 million copies worldwide. At 20, he was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease  and was given two years to live. His abilities to move and communicate were increasingly limited. He remained in a   wheelchair and  spoke through a voice synthesizer. But he lived not for two years but 76 years, the longest living MND survivor. Maybe, his lifelong predicament had something to do with his philosophy of life and universe and his views on God.

During life Stephen Hawking was much celebrated as a cosmologist and  a movie, “The Theory of Everything” was made on his life. But neither Hawkins , nor Einstein, nor other philosophers and scientists could decisively change the faith of multitudes. Ordinary men and women need props to upholster their existence. Suffering is universal in this world, as Guru Nanak said, “ Nanak Dkhiya Sab Sansar” [ The Whole World Is Suffering”. Faith in God or some Extraordinary Power makes the riddle of life bearable as the poet T.S. Eliot said,

“ Humankind  cannot bear very much reality”.

Has European Union Over Come Its Debt Crisis?[Its Implications to Global Economy] by Jitendra Kumar Sharma

 

1.Essay: [1000 words]

Topic:

Has European Union Over Come Its Debt Crisis?

[Its Implications to Global Economy]

 

By Jitendra Kumar Sharma

 

European Union set up a high-level Commission under the chairmanship of   Jacques de Larosière in order to confront the Debt Crisis. The Debt Crisis had phenomenal dimensions. The Commission itself noted in the Introduction to its Report published on 25 February, 2009 that “the world faces a very serious economic and financial crisis” as the “financial markets depend on trust but much of this trust has evaporated” [1].

 

Though Debt Crisis originated in the USA, EU got badly hit, so also several emerging economies. India, however escaped its onslaught. Still, Debt Crisis was, no doubt, global. European Union in cooperation with IMF, Basel Committee, G-20 and FSF as its partners acted on several financial fronts for overpowering the Debt Crisis.

 

Resolution of the multiplex Debt Crisis and implementation of global standards, according to Larosière Report, could be effected only through a firm and integrated European System of regulation of its capital markets that are among the world’s largest. The Commission’s report also lists the ‘CAUSES OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS’ as also its ‘Recommendations’. However, not the causes of the crisis but measures adopted to drive out the crisis are more important for the purpose of this essay.  Adequacy and effectiveness of the banking and supervisory structures at EU level are our central concerns. We shall consider these issues.

A midterm review two years after London G-20 observed that the de Larosiere institutions were “making good progress” [2]. It exuded optimism about the Commission meeting its commitment to introduce a new banking regime by 2013, date fixed for this purpose both at the regulatory and institutional levels. On the issue of remuneration, EU had moved farther than the USA but it had yet to catch up on banking resolution and structural changes.

The ‘de Larosiere institutions’ were working with a sense of urgency as early as in 2011. The reviewer, however, expressed doubts on the plethora of regulation that were yet to come into force and if all the procedures shall be firmly operational by 2013 and whether the “citizens’ confidence will be restored” [3]. He also had doubts about   the long term success of “the new European Stability Mechanism (ESM)” [4] and concluded that the sovereign crisis had caused complications and hampered EU’s response to the crisis.

In Heliodoro Temprano Arroyo’s analytical presentation on European Union’s Policy Response vis-à-vis Fiscal Crisis for reforming economic governance, Commission’s long term projections show that debt-to-GDP ratio is likely to rise to around 110% by 2030 for lack of “fiscal consolidation.”[5].This raises serious concerns. It seems Debt Crisis has pushed Europe’s dream of One Market, One Political Entity into doldrums. Brexit confirms this incertitude.

In this context, Emilios Avgouleas and Douglas W. Arner provide an interesting aside. According to them, financial integration may not necessarily yield benefits, even though currently assertive “regionalism” demands “integration” and its heightened importance in policy formulation cannot be denied even so a “balanced” approach should be preferred. [6]

 

Malaise, observers point out, lies in the Banker-Politician nexus in EU/Eurozone countries. Powerful banking magnates fund election campaigns of politicians and influence governments’ finance policy to their advantage. Moreover, the Financial Structures have become too complex and complicated. Even the big bankers failed to understand  their own financial structures. They remained myopic to the approaching Debt Crisis.s

Currently, three academic approaches are in vogue to understand the EU/EZ financial functioning and regulation, namely: (i) Quaglia, who regards complexity and asymmetries as inbuilt in the EU/EZ financial system and their policy making process, inevitably resulting in a balance between the EU/EZ authorities and market stakeholders. (ii) Admati and Hellwi argue that banking regulation can make the banks strong as well as safeguard the citizen’s interests against “having to bail them out and face austerity measures as a result”.[7] (iii) Macartney, influenced by Gramscian hegemony  theory, rejects the view  that rigorous regulations lead to beneficial change. Macartney also suggests that the financial system cannot survive without a king-sized debt.

A hard-nosed banker and hands-on finance executive Michael Pomerleano’s comment is an appropriate gloss on these three theoretical assumptions. He says,“shadow banking” will play a larger “role in lending vis-à-vis the banking sector”. He also explains that banks will have to observe the rules, thereby restricting their scope for banking operations. He insists on rigorous controls for achieving greater harmony between the “shadow-banking and the traditional-banking sectors” for which entirely new procedures shall be needed to keep an eye on “markets and instruments” rather than institutions. Those who devise policy, now must enhance their efforts to keep an eye on “excessive liquidity” and also prevent its “build up” [8]

From the above recapitulation of major theories, reviews and considerations of the Debt Crisis, we may safely conclude that the European/Eurozone banking and supervisory structures are unable to master the Debt Crisis, seriousness and hard work of Larosière  institutions, notwithstanding. Both regulatory and structural  inadequacies still stalk the European Financial System.Banking and supervisory structures at EU level have, no doubt, proved inadequate in responding to the debt crisis.

 

Satayjit Das is sure that Europe has “NWO (no way out)”.Only a robust growth could redeem EU which is improbable. EU/Eurozone debt troubles will remain unhealed. European Central Bank’s repeated claim that it has “adequate” [9] capacity against pressure is feeble indeed as it is refuted by the continuing threat of financial collapse.

Notably, Telegraph Business on Feb 7, 2017 warned that “ EU faces a looming crisis” and Eurozone will find it hard to sustain itself as the International Monetary Fund has notified that Greece stands  on a debt explosion in spite of its  continuingly  grappling  with austerity measures and “economic reforms.” [10]

Among the keen observers of the EU/EZ’s lingering Debt Crisis, there are the proverbial Cassandaras who firmly believe that yet another  banking collapse caused by some defaulting Eurozone member or even of the Chinese economy alone  will set the stage for a renewal or rejuvenation or total overhaul of  the European and  global financial system.

Are we ready to hail the Apocalypse then?

 

=========jks==========The End of  the Essay==1000 words====jks===============

======================References=======================================

[1]  Larosière  Report, Brussels, Feb 25, 2009 ,p.6, http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/pages/publication14527_en.pdf

[2] Karel Lannoo , April 2011 Crisis,”The EU’s Response to the Financial: A mid-term review”,  CEPS Policy Brief, No. 241,p.1, https://www.ceps.eu/system/files/book/2011/04/No_241_K_Lannoo_G20_update.pdf

[3] Karel Lannoo ,ibid.”p.7

[4]  Karel Lannoo ,ibid.”p.9

[5] Heliodoro Temprano Arroyo, undated,“The EU’s Fiscal Crisis and Policy Response: reforming economic governance in the EU”, A Presentation, slide 6, https://www.oecd.org/governance/budgeting/48871475.pdfhttps://www.oecd.org/governance/budgeting/48871475.pdfhttps://www.oecd.org/governance/budgeting/48871475.pdf

[6] Emilios Avgouleas, University of Edinburgh∗ Douglas W. Arner, University of Hong Kong∗ October 2013The Eurozone Debt Crisis and the European Banking Union: A Cautionary Tale of Failure and Reform, p. 44,

http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/includes/remote_people_profile/remote_staff_profile?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHAlM0ElMkYlMkZ3d3cyLmxhdy5lZC5hYy51ayUyRmZpbGVfZG93bmxvYWQlMkZwdWJsaWNhdGlvbnMlMkYyXzI2MV90aGVldXJvem9uZWRlYnRjcmlzaXNhbmR0aGVldXJvcGVhbmJhbmtpLnBkZiZhbGw9MQ%3D%3D

 

[7]  Adamati, Anat, and Hellwig, Martin,2013. The Banker’s New Clothes: What’s wrong with Banking and What to Do about it: Princeton,  Cited on pages 19, 20  of “ Frozen Europe: Regulatory Responses to the Eurozone Banking Crisis.”,website accessed on 6/7/2017

http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Frozen-Europe-Regulatory-Responses-to-the-Eurozone-Banking-Crisis-PDF-1032KB.pdf

[8] Pomerleano, Michael,June 5, 2011, The fallacy of financial regulation: neglect of the shadow banking system,– Economists’ Forum, accessed 6/7/2017

http://blogs.ft.com/economistsforum/2011/06/the-fallacy-of-financial-regulation-neglect-of-the-shadow-banking-system/?Authorised=false&_i_location=http%3A%2F%2Fblogs.ft.com%2Feconomistsforum%2F2011%2F06%2Fthe-fallacy-of-financial-regulation-neglect-of-the-shadow-banking-system%2F&_i_referer=&classification=conditional_registered&iab=barrier-app#axzz1pptx1giM

[9] Satyajit Das on October 16, 2013 , “The Return of Europe’s Debt Crisis”, Roubini’s EconoMonitor  ACCESSED ON Thursday, July 06, 2017 from http://www.economonitor.com/blog/2013/10/the-return-of-europes-debt-crisis/

[10] Peter Foster, europe editor, Steven Swinford, deputy political editor ,7 FEBRUARY 2017 • 9:00PM,EU faces crisis as IMF warns Greek debts are on ‘explosive’ path ,Telegraph Business, Front Page, accessed on 6/7/2017 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/02/07/eu-faces-crisis-imf-warns-greek-debts-explosive-path/

 

===jks=The End of References and the Essay===jks===